Sjogrens World Forums

Sjogrens Topics => Living With Sjogren's => Topic started by: Sharon on May 13, 2019, 07:00:50 PM

Title: Tricking the body (Progesterone)
Post by: Sharon on May 13, 2019, 07:00:50 PM
I'd like to pick your brains on this one:
Seems that most pregnant women experience a marked improvement in their autoimmune issues
(until they actually give birth that is....).
There are theories that relate this improvement to the rise in progesterone during pregnancy and perhaps to the pregnancy itself (self/fetus preservation).
Progesterone has also been found to modulate the immune system:

My experience:
At a time in my life when my issue was yet undiagnosed I was just suffering from various autoimmune sysmptoms (chronic fatigue, gastro issues, severe dizziness, malaise.....) I began taking a prescription progesterone supplement in very small doses throughout the entire month to prevent menstruation. I did this because at that point in time menstruation was intolerable and would cause all my symptoms to flare up even more. My gyno had approved this.

The interesting thing is: A few months after I began doing this my symptoms greatly improved and even went into full remission at some point for 2 years! (Until I was again triggered by serious trauma.)
Back then I had thought this improvement on the treatment meant I had some hormonal imbalance, but today I think otherwise.

Could it be that this worked by tricking the body into thinking it is pregnant?
It would seem that our bodies are built to protect the fetus growing in us and not allow our immune system to attack it or us during pregnancy. tricking our bodies into thinking we're pregnant by raising progesterone to the level that it prevents mentruation a possibility to consider?   ??? ??? ???
Strange suggestion I know, but we have a strange illness with no cure so....
I'd like to hear others' thoughts on this!

Title: Re: Tricking the body (Progesterone)
Post by: Maria3667 on May 15, 2019, 02:55:54 AM
Hi Sharon,

As you know I'm not shy to experimenting with (low dose) hormones and have been on progesterone for the last 4 months. Even though I feel it's made a difference (more eye & mouth moisture) it hasn't cured Sjogren's.

In the past I tried a higher dose, it made me severely depressed and also didn't cure Sjogren's.

Your query is however intriguing. In order to protect the baby the body stops attacking its own cells. Could this mean T- & B-cells change during pregnancy? Is this only due to progesterone or other factors too? Difficult to say. Sjogren's seems too complicated to contribute the cause to just 1 factor only...

Likewise, as Sjogren's has a much higher prevalence in women, I wonder what will happen to female patients who transgender to male (FtM)? Will testosterone erradicate the symptoms?

Food for thought!
Title: Re: Tricking the body (Progesterone)
Post by: Sharon on May 15, 2019, 11:57:19 AM
Hi Maria,
Are you now only taking low dose progesterone alone or other hormones as well?
Was the dosage sufficient to prevent menstruation?
Did you take it continuously throughout the month?

If whatever you did increased eye and mouth moisure that is HUGE!
I don't think it's possible to "cure" SS in these ways, but remission should be a goal and any improvement whatsoever is a blessing.

I don't think higher progesterone is what causes improvement in pregnancy in and by itself, rather a certain hormonal balance in which it is key that may cue the body into going into some "pregnancy mode" to safegaurd baby + mother. This mode may include many changes in the body's physiology and functioning that we have yet to discover.

BTW not sure testosterone would help. I once took high dose testosterone and it did not help with anything other than energy. 
Title: Re: Tricking the body (Progesterone)
Post by: Maria3667 on May 16, 2019, 10:55:13 AM
Hi Sharon,

To answer your questions:
- I tried taking high dose progesterone when I still had menses, but couldn't get through side effects like huge depression & weight gain, so I can't answer this question.

So yes, I would say Progesterone is a pivotal player in the pathology of Sjogren's, but it's exact mechanism remains a mystery for now.

Title: Re: Tricking the body (Progesterone)
Post by: SjoGirl on May 16, 2019, 01:10:11 PM
Hello Sharon,

When I first became symptomatic and before I knew the extent of my issues I visited a holistic practitioner. She had me take progesterone which did help for a while. However, eventually, I started to become angry all the time and quite aggressive. Sensing the change in myself I wrote to her only to discover that I should have stopped taking it (she said the change meant I was well and didn't need it).

For me, it and other supplements were not a long-term solution or even a solution. I hated taking drugs but they have been my saving grace.

FYI I was just at the end of menopause when this transpired and was not taking any hormones. My PCP was quite opposed to me using any type of hormone therapy due to potential damage to my heart.
Title: Re: Tricking the body (Progesterone)
Post by: irish on May 16, 2019, 03:48:02 PM
The one thing to watch also with testosterone is depression and "rage" as it can play havoc with the emotions and inability to control behaviors relating to emotions. Irish
Title: Re: Tricking the body (Progesterone)
Post by: Sharon on May 16, 2019, 03:56:16 PM
Thanks for sharing your experiences gals.
Even low-dose progesterone caused me to feel super calm and maintain fluid but also caused weight gain.
Testosterone cream gave me more energy but did make me feel rather aggressive.
I conclude that the exact way to balance your hormones to fool your body into thinking your pregnant
would be individual and would definitely be different pre-menopausal than post.
Title: Re: Tricking the body (Progesterone)
Post by: Sweetcheex76 on July 04, 2019, 04:13:24 PM
Thanks for bringing this up. I was desperately still seeking a diagnosis of what was wrong with me when I went thru menopause. When I started using a natural progesterone cream my OBGYN had compounded for me, I felt fantastic! I only used it about a year but it was the best I felt in years. I asked my rheumatologist about using it since it helped. She told me to talk to my OBGYN about it.
Title: Re: Tricking the body (Progesterone)
Post by: Sharon on July 05, 2019, 07:58:17 AM
How interesting...why did you not continue with it?